Receiving a donor kidney has not only meant that I have returned to a normal lifestyle, being blessed with the gift of life means that I now have a new perspective on life, and the best part is having the energy and zest to put this into practise. My donor family has not only given me an organ that has saved me from Chronic Renal Failure, they have given me a new life full of opportunities.
Not being exposed to renal failure before my own illness meant that I didn’t know what kidney failure or haemodialysis meant until the age of 22 when my life changed dramatically. Within a couple of days, I went from a healthy student to a young guy fighting for his life in ICU. The causes were unknown but I was given the diagnosis of organ failure. I had lost the function in both my kidneys and as a result my heart function was deteriorating. This just illustrates how quickly something like this can happen, as my whole condition started with a sore throat.
After a lengthy stay in hospital including various tests and scans, I returned to a stable condition as my heart had recovered, but my kidneys unfortunately didn’t and I was told that I had to dialyse as an outpatient. It was a process of accepting that this had happened to me, and as many things – this took time, but once making peace with the situation, I realised that the only thing I could change was my attitude. Months went by and various reasons meant that I couldn’t receive a living donor kidney, and I was placed on the Transplant Waiting List with the hope of being blessed with a kidney one day.
My life changed in May 2015, when I got a call at 2am saying that there was a beautiful kidney waiting for me and after making sure it wasn’t a dream, I was just trying to picture myself leading a normal lifestyle again. Words cannot explain the difference that an organ transplant has brought to my life. The strength in my body compared to being on dialysis is indescribable, and along with that came the sense of freedom that everybody living their life has. This is only realised when no longer being restricted by the effects organ failure has on a patient waiting for a transplant. This is appreciated every second of every day, as you can live your life to the fullest knowing that every day is a gift and presents you with opportunities to make a difference.
My passion to contribute to organ awareness and education in South Africa, was ignited by a family that selflessly made a decision on the hardest day of their lives, and provides us with reason to educate and create awareness where ever we go so that people are at peace when being approached with the opportunity to potentially save seven lives.
My donor family did not only save my life, they gave me a new life with a perspective and mind-set that I wish I could share with everyone. Realising how important it is to keep your mind clear of hindrances and not to allow emotions to destroy your destiny. We are all more than conquerors and living with the attitude of always wanting to achieve more has been ignited by my kidney transplant.
It is because of my life-saving organ transplant that I am now able to be an active member of society, pursue a career and work hard toward my goals. I have a well-balanced life with sport, more specifically cycling, playing a large role. I was fortunate enough to attend the 2017 World Transplant Games in Malaga, Spain where I obtained a bronze medal in road cycling within my age classification. I am now working hard towards the 2019 World Games which is to be held in Newcastle, United Kingdom.